Thursday, December 20, 2018

New Zoning Plan to Mark the End of Elitch Gardens in Current Form

© Google Maps
The city of Denver, Colorado, has approved a new zoning plan for the plot of land that Elitch Gardens currently sits on, located along the South Platte River and near both the Pepsi Center and Mile High Stadium.

The plan calls for the "River Mile" land to be fully redeveloped into a residential area that would have upwards of 8,000 residential units located in tall buildings overlooking the river.  The entire 58 acres that the park sits on would be used for the project.  The area would also contain some office locations, and the base of the buildings would be reserved for retail and other "active" uses.

But we're not about city planning here so the focus, really, is that this officially means that Elitch Gardens is living on borrowed time, at least in its current form.  One other catch to the plan is that building all aspects of it could take up to 25 years, and the developers state that there are no "immediate plans" to shut down the park.  Some of the first developments will be a parking garage and other structures on the park's current parking lots.

Right now, developers say the park could "potentially be rebuilt elsewhere," but it remains to be seen if that will ever come to light.  Basically, it's too early to know for sure.

While the news is not exactly encouraging, Elitch Gardens did successfully move once before, from its original home where it operated from 1890 until 1994.  The park in its current form, located downtown, opened in 1995.

Elitch Gardens is currently run by Premier Parks, LLC, but not owned by them - the park was fully purchased from CNL Lifestyle Properties in 2015 by a group of local investors.

It's hard to tell at this point just when the park will close, but it doesn't sound like there is much doubt that it will close... eventually.  We'll have to keep watch on developments on the River Mile plan in coming years, no doubt.  For now, if you can, go enjoy the park!